*Paula Abdul, who is of Jewish descent, is in the midst of a 10-day trip to Israel to connect with her Jewish roots, reports The Associated Press.
The former “American Idol” and “The X-Factor” arrived in the country last week for the first time – with plans to hold a belated Bat Mitzvah (the Jewish coming of age ceremony girls typically have at age 12 or 13) at the Western Wall.
“Beyond being Jewish, I’ve always found myself to be very much in tune with spirituality,” the 51-year-old Abdul told The Associated Press. “I feel very grateful coming to Israel now, where as a woman I know who I am a lot more than even 10 years ago.”
Paula’s father, Harry Abdul, was born into the Syrian Jewish community in Aleppo, Syria and raised in Brazil before eventually immigrating to the United States. Her mother, the concert pianist Lorraine M., was raised in Minnedosa, Manitoba in Canada, with ancestors from the Jewish community in Katerburg, Ukraine and Russia.
Her 10-day tour of Israel is under the auspices of the Tourism Ministry, which has invited her as a special guest.
On her first day in Jerusalem, she visited the Israel Museum and tasted fare at Mahane Yehuda market. She also planned to visit Tel Aviv and the Galilee in addition to more holy sites, museums and markets in Jerusalem. She said on Tuesday, “I only landed yesterday and I already feel I won’t want to leave.”
Israeli President Shimon Peres also hosted the former Lakers Girl. (Watch below.)